One of my readers recently asked me for tips on teaching stem-changing verbs in the present tense.
Here are some of my suggestions:
First I call them boot verbs or shoe verbs
because when you draw a line around all the forms that change it ends up
looking like a shoe/ boot. I draw this in front of them exaggerate the
fact that it looks like a shoe by drawing shoe strings or something.
I remind students what the stem of the verb is and that with regular
verbs the stem does not change but with stem changing verbs the stem
changes. I review one of the regular verbs and then show a
I say "in the present tense of stem-changing verbs the stem changes
in all forms except for the nosotros form." Then I ask my students "in
what form does the stem change in stem-changing verbs in the present
tense?" They should say "all except nosotros."
For example with cerrar I tell them that the e changes to ie in all
froms except the nosotros. So no longer is the stem cerr. It is now
I then have the entire class conjugate the verb out loud together
making sure to emphasize the fact that the nosotros from does not